Remember the good-old-days, when a handy product and a cheery smile were enough?
It seems like a distant memory in today’s fast-paced, high-demand world. The speed of technology and the growing expectation for an instant response to texts and emails is a real pressure, especially when it comes to customer service. Customers want everything to be better, faster and cheaper, and retailers like Amazon and Virgin are piling extra pressure on to smaller businesses, making it feel harder to succeed.
So how do you stay relevant and thrive in an increasingly competitive market? Delight your customers. Provide a level of service and care that sets you apart from the competition. And this isn’t about big budgets – it’s about a considered and focused approach to customer care and retention.
On average, it costs five times as much to acquire a new customer than to keep an existing one.
With this in mind, what advice can we offer our clients to help them retain customers? Here are some key areas to think about:
What do we mean by ‘going the extra mile’?
Whether over the phone, in person or by email, it’s about doing more than your customer expects. Think back to the last positive experience you had as a customer, what made it memorable? We can bet that it was about feeling valued, heard and understood. And the little personal touches – the adviser remembered your name or referred back to something you’d previously spoken about. Or perhaps you had an unexpected free gift with your purchase. We’re not suggesting overkill here! Just be genuinely present and engaged when you interact with your customers. It makes all the difference.
How is your customer communication? Often, this starts at the top. The easiest way to develop consistency for your customers is to develop consistency in your company. Make sure that you have regular standards training for all employees. Communicate your values and be clear about the impression you intend to portray.
Make time to capture customer feedback, they’re your best indicator of how you’re doing. Regular surveys and customer interviews will help you to assess how effective your communication is, and address any areas for improvement.
Turn problems into opportunities
Mistakes happen. That’s life. But how you deal with a problem or complaint can make the difference between keeping or losing a valued customer. Transparency and ownership are generally the most effective approach. Own your mistakes, apologise and go above and beyond to make things right.
What’s the magic word?
You’ve guessed it: Thank you. A sincere word of thanks, in person, in your communication, on your social media page, or with an invoice, can help to make your customers feel valued and encourage them to keep coming back for more.
Want to learn more about retaining customers?
There’s lots more information in our e-book ‘Reflect. Dream. Do’